Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Congratulations Armin!!! Number 1 DJ for 4th Year In a Row!

A huge congratulations from the SF Tremor for the hardest working man in dance music winning the coveted #1 DJ crown AGAIN for the 4th year in a row: ARMIN VAN BUUREN!! I figured it would be a hard fought battle against David Guetta for the crown, but I'm very glad that Armin prevailed because he definitely deserves it. He had a monstrous year, especially with the release of Mirage. In his own words claiming his award in England at the ceremony: "I just wanna say....AHHHHHH!!!!!!!" Cheers, mate. Party hard tonight, you deserve it.



Markus Schulz likes to party!

These pictures tell more of a tale than my feeble words ever could...

Seems to me like he's quite the guy to party with. Let's share a toast in honor for trance's premiere party boy! Markus Schulz!

Where did this hilarity come from do you ask? Follow him on twitter: @MarkusSchulz. Pure comedy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ASOT: Top tracks of the year vote (My Top 5)

Oh amazing of a year was 2010 for Trance? So many amazing tracks and remixes were released in this year. In my humble opinion, I believe 2010 put 2009 to shame in terms of releases and it was great to see how many great DJ's and producers had come ups this year. I'm thoroughly excited to see what the top 100 DJ's poll from turns out like. But in the meantime, it's that time of year to vote for Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance top tracks of the year for his end of the year episode. For those unfamiliar with the ASOT final year episode (which I wouldn't imagine any of you would be), the ASOT listeners get to vote for their top 5 favorite tunes of the year here, which then get tallied and premiered in the end of the year ASOT episode to premiere the top 20 of the year as voted by the viewers. What are your top 5? I'm sure everyone has their favorites for any specific reason; whether it be for legitimate production appreciation, its your favorite producer, or you really just fell in love with the track hearing it at your favorite summer festival. Regardless, here are my top 5 picks:

1. Sied van Riel & Radion 6 - Radiator

Up until this year, Sied van Riel and Radion 6 were relatively unheard of to me. But oh goodness do I know them now. This was a great introduction to a great year for these two. Their styles meshed incredibly well for this tune to great a jam that was probably played by the vast majority of trance DJ's at all their sets this summer. The sound is unique, the progressions are unpredictable, the melody is uplifting with a dark edge to it, and it picks up crowds like no other. What really took me aback is the main melody synth and it's buzz-saw like feel to it. Absolutely stunning. Both went on to have great come ups this year.

2. Faithless - Not Going Home (Armin van Buuren Remix)

Anybody who doubt's Armin van Buuren's artistic prowess when it comes to producing need not look any further than this summertime jam off of his A State of Trance 2010 compilation. I first heard it when I listened to that album for the first time, but the power of it never really hit me until I heard it live during his set at Electric Daisy Carnival this past summer. Simply put, it's as catchy as a trance song could possibly get. Most Faithless remixes are good, but Armin's distinct recognizable flavor could be spotted a mile away. That synth bass carries this tune along perfectly.

3. Sander van Doorn - Daddyrock

Call the presses because Sander van Doorn did it again with "Daddyrock". An amazing track by the likes of a man who is hard to classify. Could this even be trance? It starts off trancey, but what is it really? It's just SvD style...that's what it is. His productions continue to leave me scratching my head with the "how did he do that?" afterthought in terms of how he goes about producing his tracks. That piano like synth putting it in gear for the breakdown...nothing short of amazing.

4. Stoneface & Terminal - Moment

I can't say enough about Stoneface & Terminal for this particular tune. It is trance teasing at its finest. The build up is long but justified. Everything is perfectly placed and as soon as you think the track has reached its peak of pick up, they throw a curve ball at you. Every single layer added on to the track adds an amazing new depth to it. Once the track finally does reach its peak, you realize how much this "trance" track actually could be played on any sort of dance floor. This is definitely should be a top candidate on anyone's top 5 jams.

5. Jochen Miller - Humanoid

Trance heads, if you aren't a sucker for killer melodies (like me), why are you even listening to trance in the first place? In terms of killer melodies, look no further than this banger. Along with this vote's #2 track, hearing it in a live setting really set it off to me how epic this track really was. From start to finish, it never disappoints. Like the #4 track, the build up is what really sets your euphoric points up until the main melody hits. The Ali Wilson remix is pretty good too. What can I say? We need more guys like Jochen Miller.

Now I know there were many other tracks that deserved to be on this particular vote. But sadly, Armin only let's us vote 5 of the tracks we love. Unfortunate no? Oh well...however, these are a list of mentions I feel were close contenders for my list as well. Oh my how great was 2010?

Honorable Mentions:

Gareth Emery - Sanctuary (Club Mix)***in retrospect I'm bummed I left this one off my top 5!!
Ashley Wallbridge - Smoke
Ashley Wallbridge - Walk On Water
Markus Schulz - Perception (from the album "Do You Dream?")
Markus Schulz - Lifted (from the album "Do You Dream?")
Markus Schulz - Rain (Phynn Remix)
Gareth Emery - Citadel (from the album "Northern Lights")
Gareth Emery w/ Jerome Isma-Ae - Stars (from the album "Northern Lights")
Armin van Buuren - Orbion (from the album "Mirage")
Armin van Buuren - Mirage (from the album "Mirage")
Armin van Buuren - Not Giving Up On Love (Dash Berlin 4AM Mix)
Above & Beyond w/ Kyau & Albert - Anphonic
Faithless - Feelin' Good (Ferry Corsten Mix)
4 Strings - Sundown
Ummet Ozcan - Arcadia (Original Mix)
Dustin Zahn - Stranger To Stability (Len Faki Podium Mix)
Faithless - Tweak Your Nipple (Tiesto Remix)
Mr. Pit - Sky Traffic
Michael Angelo & Solo - Alone (Ashley Wallbridge Remix)
Radion 6 - Lightning
Mat Zo - 24 Hours (Rank 1 Remix)
Super8 & Tab - Black Is The New Yellow
Kyau & Albert - Painkillers

...and probably many, many more I'm forgetting.

So what were your top 5? Any thoughts, comments, criticisms? Please leave your 2 cents in the comments section! I'd like to hear what every one else's favorite tunes were. Till next time!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Introducing..... THE SF TREMOR!!!

Hey everyone and welcome to the unofficial first entry to the brand new blog: The SF Tremor! But if this is the first entry and there several other entries listed prior to this is this the first one you might ask? Well good friend, the answer is that many of these entries were written on my other blog known as the Music Rehab Clinic. That site started as a general music blog, began seeing more postings in regards to electronic & dance music, and eventually took over to the point where the electronic section warranted its own sanctioned blog. So here it is! I will be posting regularly to this blog as I feel that my electronic postings have a home now and don't necessarily feel out of place amidst my other ramblings about all things rock, rap, and pop. So hope you enjoy! I'm very excited about this! Please feel free to leave all comments possible! Whether you dig what I had to say or not, this is an open invitation to speak your mind! After all...isn't the whole EDM community about sharing with each other??

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trance in 2010, where do we go from here?

Hey what's going on readers out there in music land. Hope you all have found some new tracks to have in rotation with your iTunes or CD players or whatever it is you use in this day and age (myself being an iTunes man). Wanted to touch on a topic that's been kinda blossoming in the back of my mind ever since I've been listening to more trance these days. When it comes to electronic music, trance has always been reigning king at #1 in my book, when progressive house at a very close #2, and electro house rounding it out at #3. Maybe techno would come in at #4? There are some techno tracks that stand out for me. While they aren't dance material, I can recognize the musical prowess and effort that goes behind a good techno track. However, these days I've noticed that the genre lines are without a doubt being blurred, spawning some very interesting and peculiar results with new tracks coming out this year. It has been hard to deduce sometimes specifically which genre or sub-genre to classify some tracks. That being said, trance DJ's are stepping into the house realm, house DJ's are speeding up their tracks a little bit and adding breakdowns, Dubstep DJ's are remixing and slowing down popular electro tracks, and so on and so forth.
Is this a good thing? I think absolutely. It shows appreciation from all fronts of the EDM world for good music. Simply because you make drum & bass music, doesn't mean you can't understand and love trance. In this day and age, it wouldn't surprise me that a drum & bass would even include a trance song he likes in his set, of course nicely sped up and remixed to his drum & bass set specifications.
Now this gets me to thinking, what does this mean for my #1 genre trance? Where is the future going to take our once genuinely distinct favorite form of edm? One thing is for sure, is that the BPM is going down to match somewhere along the lines of progressive house. When trance first started out, the BPM was very high. Usually within the 140 BPM to 150 BPM range. Take a listen to the very famous track "Flight 643" by Tiesto in 2001.

This fast paced, techno inspired, melodic, and up-lifting track is genuinely what trance is all about. Since the spawning of it (when it actually was classified under the name "trance" and not "techno"), and even up until the mid 2000's, this held true. Check out Sean Tyas' "Drop". If my memory serves me correctly, this track came out in 2006-2007:

All those years later after Tiesto's smash (one of the pioneers of trance music), the formula still holds true. However these days, many of the trance releases have been slowed down to mirror a formula that becomes very reminiscent of progressive house. I'm not saying this about all trance, just some trance; that some being a big portion of crossover for the trance community that is translating into success. One of the biggest acts in trance right now is Gareth Emery. This is a great example of trance that has slowed down and taken a turn for the more progressive house friendly crowd:

Without a shadow of a doubt an amazing track, but greatly different from the first two that I played before. Many more examples of this are relevant from our favorite trance artists. Along with some taking a turn for the more progressive, others are simply taking a turn for the more "pop" friendly. A song like Armin van Buuren's "Not Giving Up On Love" could easily be heard on the radio, even though it's from a trance artist. Especially considering how even hip hop and other pop acts have taken a liking for more electronic & dance productions.
The flip side of this, is house artists exploring the realm of trance with their breakdowns, uplifting melodies, and overall euphoric nature. EDX, Deadmau5, Kaskade, and Swedish House Mafias are perfect examples of this. Some of examples of this:

Amazing, amazing tracks all around. You could hear any of these spun by your favorite trance DJ's these days, despite technically not being classified as "trance".

Whats the point??

Let me round this all off by repeating that not every trance artist is doing this! and not all trance is turning into this! The bulk majority of trance we still hear on radio shows like Trance Around The World, A State of Trance, and Global DJ Broadcast is still reminiscent of the classic sound we all know and love and were brought up with. However, we cannot deny that the trend is taking off and we are starting to see more and more of it. Listen to an episode of ASOT from 2005 and then listen to an episode from 2010. See the difference? I am willing to predict in the coming decade that we will start to see more and more of this. Not to mention that the many hip-hop and pop acts that are starting to dive more and more into dance music will without a doubt affect the EDM scene; for better or worse. Overall, I think it will generate more possibilities for all of our fine producers around the world. Despite if we think it could affect things adversely, I don't think there's anything wrong with universal exposure, appreciation, and mutual respect. Viva Trance! No matter what state it is in.

~Marky Mark